That certain sense of satisfaction that comes with finishing a draft, is often tempered with foreboding. Rewriting, revising, self-editing, no matter what you call it, the process is much more calculated than that of creating a story. There are hard days in the creative process, when you’re just not feeling the story, but this process is mechanical and I believe mathematical.
When I was in school I hated math. I totally sucked at it. People would tell me how wonderful it was. It’s black and white, there’s only one answer, they would say, but I struggled with my multiplication tables, stumbled through algebra in a haze of confusion and completed only the bare minimum of classes I needed for graduation.
So what does all that organizational and formulaic process have to do with rewriting and revising?
It’s that same sort of analytical process. I look at each sentence, tear it apart and dissect it. Sometimes when it doesn’t feel right, I even diagram it. (Yes, I know I must be one of the only people who still uses that tool taught in High School English, but it really helps me to see the sentence.)
It’s a slow going process. When I’m in creative mode, I can log 1500 to 2000 words a day with regular consistency. I’ve been in revision stage for two days now and averaged three pages each day. (about 750 words). That’s only one-third to one-half the ground covered. And the worse part? Even when I add paragraphs of new content to expand on a plot point or concept, I get little creative satisfaction out of this process. I feel drained instead of rejuvenated.
But it is part of the process. A very necessary one. A rough draft, at least the way I write it, is only a collection of ideas, the skeleton of the story. it takes all the struggles; all the high polish; and yes, all the math to make it a real story worth reading.
To combat that feeling of creative drought, I am going to try something new this time around. After completing my editing goals for the day (Which I do hope to amp ump from the dismal starting point) I’m going to treat myself to forty-five minutes or creativity, whether it is working on the next draft, a short story idea or some non-writing activity. I’m thinking this will help feed that hunger that brews if I don’t create.
How about you? Do you feel a withdrawal when you move from writing to rewriting? How do you combat it?